Monday, August 31, 2009

Soylent Green (1973)


Title: Soylent Green (1973)

Director: Richard Fleisher

Socially conscious science fiction is my favorite kind of sci-fi. Its the kind of sci-fi that speaks about the realities of our lives, what we are living through, but filters thouse experiences through a science fiction tale. Just re-watched this classic sci-fi film because I thought it would be appropriate considering the situations were recently lived through in the world. Im talking about how in certain parts of the world, the goverment issued this massive warning against the swine flu a.k.a. H1N1. I personally saw people going "swine flu crazy". I never thought I would live through something like this, but Ive seen people wearing masks everywhere for fear of contagion. Food establishments have their employees wearing gloves and masks, people are not going out (have to admit it was great to see the movie theater line so empty) and the streets are emptier then usual! The hospitals are filled with people who think they got the swine flu but dont, and cases of people having died of the flu have been offcially reported. People are buying hand sanitizers by the truck loads and are even afraid to shake other peoples hands! Ive even personally seen people opening door knobs with paper towels so they wont get infected! Like I said, swine flu crazy.

So anyways, I immediately related to Soylent Green because of this. On the theme of mass hysteria. In Soylent Green, the world has fallen into poverty. Theres not enough food for anyone, the masses depend on the goverment to provide everything for them, so the world has fallen into chaos! The goverment provides people with this cracker/cookie thats made of soybean, and everyone goes crazy for it! People go into riots when theres no supply! I love these scenes in the film where everyone goes batshit insane because they ran out of Soylent Green. These are the most memorable scenes in the film because people just go crazy, so much so that the goverment has to use these trucks to pick them off the streets, as if they were garbage in order to control the mass hysteria that ensues.

This movie is very apocalyptic, its the end of the world and you got front row seats to it! As I watched it I realized George Romero' s Land of the Dead might have been heavily influenced by this one. It has that theme where the rich people are living apart from the masses, living in luxury, apparently unaffected by the whole thing. Similarities between both films are actually numerous! The rich vs. the poor, the rich hiding away in luxury, but eventually, the apocalypse catches up to the rich as well, and they got hell to pay as well. Finally, all out mayhem ensues.

Charlton Heston plays a cop whos investigating the death of a rich guy who is somehow involved in the production of Soylent Green and the mystery surrounding its production. Dont know what it is, but I normally dont like Hestons performances in films. On this one, he plays this macho dude, hitting women, stealing, being an asshole all the time. Except when he is with his best buddy, who is this old guy that lives with him. He treats him really nice, bringing him food and taking care of him. I guess he was just playing a guy trying to survive in the crazy apocaliptyc world, where its not easy to do the right thing.

But the best part of this film really is its feeling of paranoia and the masses going insane, the goverment being unable to handle the craziness that they themselves have created. Kind of like the same craziness I went through a couple of weeks ago with the whole swine flu paranoia! But now, who cares about the whole thing? Right now, the swine flu paranoia has died off. I find it kind of interesting how a couple of weeks ago, people didnt even want to shake hands for fear of catching the "deadly" virus! Yet now, after a few weeks have passed (and the media has cooled off their swine flu obssesion) people are slowly going back to normal. Its kind of sad how easily peoples perception of reality can be manipulated. What ever the newspapers and news channels say, is what the grand majority of people take for reality. The media stops talking about that subject matter and the world forgets. Its kind of scary when you think about it. Whatever they focus on, is what the world will focus on. Even if its exxagerated lies.

Rating: 4 out of 5

1 comment:

Lisa said...

The whole thing with swine flu (which is pretty much just like any other flu, only not very good for those with a pre-existing medical condition) is quite a lot like the AIDS 'epidemic'. When John Carpenter was making 'The Thing', he drew parallels with that.

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